Citroen DS4 1.6L e-HDi 115 EGS Review: French and sensible

Citroen DS4 1.6L e-HDi 115 EGS Review: French and sensible

OneShift Editorial Team
OneShift Editorial Team
09 May 2013
What we like:
pros
Striking exterior design. Excellent interior build quality. Plenty of personality in form and function.
What we dislike:
cons
Dim-witted gearbox that is neither smooth nor precise. Modest engine output best for those with a more laid back driving disposition.

The crux of the DS4 e-HDi sales pitch is 1.6-litre turbo diesel engine under the hood. It puts out 110 bhp at 3,600 rpm and 270 Nm of torque at 1,750rpm to power 1.8 tonnes of car.

The diesel engine is able to cope with the heft of the vehicle, if only barely. There is a constant need to call upon all 110 horses and all their grit to pull the front-wheel driven DS4 up to speed. The diesel power falls short on the promise of easy torque-loaded acceleration; instead the DS4 e-HDi has to work hard to get up to speed.

Upon reaching higher speeds, the car is contented to adhere to Newton’s First Law of Motion and keep cruising. This is where it shines. Given long cross-island trips, the engine purrs softly covering distance with little effort and fuel. Fuel consumption on a combined cycle is a claimed 22.73km/l with the added help of the stop/start function to mitigate fuel consumption in urban traffic conditions.

The engine that Citroen co-developed with BMW is easy to live with despite its modest performance. Furthermore, Citroen’s famed reputation for ride comfort is upheld in a respectable manner with a pliant but supple suspension setup that seemingly halves the harshness of any given bump or divot in the road. The steering is accurate but slightly heavy and dull. While not the best for enthusiastic driving it makes for a comfortable highway cruising companion.

All in all, if there is an Achilles’ heel in the DS4 e-HDi, it is not the engine; it is the 6-speed robotised-manual Electric Gearbox System (EGS) that lets down the package.

Shifting up between gears sees the ponderous gearbox struggle to process and deliver. The time between shifts is long enough for the car to experience weight shift from the back to the front of the car. While generally mildly unpleasant, it is unnerving when the gearbox decides to shift up when exiting a fast corner. This can be remedied by driving in manual mode with the gear paddles and lifting off the throttle between changes.

Conclusion

The DS4 is a worthy premium contender in the C-segment and even more so now with its frugal diesel engine. The DS4 e-HDi will net a significant savings of $15,000 CEVS rebate from its 114g/km CO2 output. Those looking for a distinct alternative to the usual family C-segment car would do well to try out the DS4 e-HDi.

Just leave your racing shoes at home.

Credits: Story and Photos by Edwin Loh

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